• Classes And Exams (D)

    From Daryl Stout@HURRICAN to All on Sat Jan 7 00:05:00 2017

    For the exam itself, you will mark your answers on the ANSWER SHEET,
    and NOT in the test booklet itself. You will either bubble in the
    desired letter, or make an "X" through it...do NOT just CIRCLE the

    If you are at an exam session adminstered by an ARRL/VEC VE Team, when
    you're given the test booklet and answer sheet, examine them to make sure
    they have the right number of questions, as follows:

    License Exam: Exam Color: Questions: Pages:

    Technician Goldenrod 35 4
    General Yellow 35 4
    Amateur Extra Pink 50 5-6

    If the VE Team is using the Exam Maker software, the Technician and
    General exams have 10 pages, and the Amateur Extra exam has 15 pages.

    Test booklets with other VE Teams (instead of ARRL/VEC) may be different,
    but the number of questions will be the same.

    If you notice pages missing, or other discrepancies, notify the VE Team IMMEDIATELY...and they will replace the defective copy of the materials in question. You will fill out the appropriate information on the left side
    of the answer sheet, where required.

    Cellphones, pagers, IPods, watches with hourly chimes, etc. MUST BE
    TURNED OFF, and PUT AWAY during the test session. While examinees with
    hearing aids may use them, any other device (headsets, books, notes, possessions, etc.) MUST be put away, until the test session is completed.
    As noted above, if your calculator has been CLEARED of memory resident formulas, you may use it during the exam...but, the VE Team will verify
    that this is the case.

    The only things that you may take with you upon leaving the test session,
    are the personal belongings you brought with you when you arrived, and any applicable CSCE given to you by the VE Team. You may NOT take any test materials, answer sheets, or any other forms from the test session.

    If you pass one test, and wish to take the next one in line to upgrade,
    you won't be required to pay an additional fee. But, if you fail an exam,
    and wish to retest...you will be required to pay another test fee, as
    noted above...if the VE team will allow you to retake the exam with a
    DIFFERENT set of questions. Whether or not you take more than one license
    class exam at a test session is at your option, and it's not required that
    you do so.

    Some VE Test sessions will LIMIT the number of retest attempts, because
    of time constraints. With most test sessions, only one (1) retest of a
    failed element is allowed. If you fail the exam for a particular license
    class twice in one session, it's best that you study some more before
    trying again.

    If you need to take a break between tests (to stretch your legs, use
    the restroom, etc.) you may do so. However, as noted above, CHEATING, IN
    ANY FORM, WON'T BE TOLERATED!! The Volunteer Examiner Team will CONSTANTLY
    BE OBSERVING ALL EXAMINEES during ALL tests, to make sure that this is
    the case!!

    There is NO RUSH to complete the test...as you're more likely to make
    errors if you do!! Take your time, and answer the questions that you know FIRST. Go back to the ones you're not sure of, and save the difficult ones
    for last. If you do have to GUESS, do it INTELLIGENTLY.

    If you leave a question blank...or mark more than one answer per question
    on the answer sheet, it is AUTOMATICALLY a WRONG ANSWER...and it could be
    the difference between PASSING and FAILING the exam!! If you have to CHANGE your answer, make sure you notate it as such. However, unless you're quite sure, your first choice is usually the correct answer.

    If you finish the test early, turn your test booklet, and answer sheet
    into the VE Team...once you're satisfied that "you've done the best that
    you can do". PLEASE REMAIN QUIET, until everyone else has finished their
    exams as well. Disruptive behavior by examinees or observers will NOT be tolerated, and the disruptees will be dismissed from the test session. If
    the VE Team gets "too loud", please ask them to "tone it down to a low
    roar", as it were.

    Per Part 97.519, of the FCC Rules:

    (d) The FCC may:

    (1) Administer any examination element itself;

    (2) Readminister any examination element previously administered by
    VEs, either itself or under the supervision of a VEC or VEs designated
    by the FCC; or

    (3) Cancel the operator/primary station license of any licensee who
    fails to appear for readministration of an examination when directed
    by the FCC, or who does not successfully complete any required element
    that is readministered. In an instance of such cancellation, the person
    will be granted an operator/primary station license consistent with
    completed examination elements that have not been invalidated by not
    appearing for, or by failing, the examination upon readministration.

    Note that unlike a VE Test Session, if you fail the readministration
    of an exam before the FCC, you will NOT be allowed to take another test
    that same day.

    After The License Exam

    When you're done with the exam, return the test booklet, and the answer
    sheet to the VE Team. They will grade it IMMEDIATELY (or as soon as is possible), and tell you whether you have passed or failed the test...
    although they can NOT tell you what to study the next time, if you failed;
    nor they can they tell you which questions you missed. Once your test
    booklet and answer sheet have been turned into the VE Team, you may NOT
    have them back.

    As noted above, there is no disgrace in failing an exam. If the VE Team
    has the time and resources, and you're willing to pay an additional test
    fee, they will let you retest, but with a different set of questions. Not
    every ham radio operator has passed their license exam on the first try...
    and some have taken nearly a dozen tries to pass an exam element.

    If you pass the exam, and you do not yet have a callsign or a license; depending on processing time, your new callsign and/or license class
    should be available on the Internet at the QRZ Ham Radio website at http://www.qrz.com in about 10 to 14 days...but sometimes, it may take a
    bit longer...or it may be a bit sooner.

    Once the callsign is there, you can begin operating. Look for the link entitled "FCC Reports"...and look for your name (last name first).
    Archived entries are available, in case you can't access the Internet for
    a period of time after you pass the test.

    You can also go to the HamData website, http://www.hamdata.com to check
    for new callsigns.

    The FCC no longer mails out a "paper copy" of ones amateur radio license. Instead, about 1 to 2 weeks after the exam session, the licensee will be notified via email that their license is available via the FCC ULS...and
    they are provided logon credentials (usually the FRN and a temporary
    password, which should be changed after initial logon). Once logged on,
    they can print an "Official Copy" of their license, plus a "Reference
    Copy" to take to a future license exam session, should they decide to
    upgrade their license. Also, once logged on, they can change their
    profile to request a paper copy be mailed to them. However, with one
    getting it electronically, you can print it instantly, and not have to
    worry about the license getting lost in the mail.

    Once the paper copy of your new license is in hand, you may DESTROY the
    old license, and the applicable CSCE for the new one, unless you'd like
    to keep the CSCE as a novelty. Be sure to SIGN the new license before you
    make a copy of it, and/or laminate it; as the license is NOT valid without
    your signature.

    If you have not seen your callsign or upgrade in the FCC ULS 2 weeks
    after you took the test, you should call either the exam session liasion,
    or the VEC. In the case of an ARRL/VEC test session, they can be reached
    from 7am to 4pm Central Time, Monday through Friday (except holidays), at
    (860) 594-0300 -- this is a long distance call.

    Be sure to keep your U.S. Mailing Address CURRENT...as your license may
    be SUSPENDED/REVOKED by the FCC, if mail they send to you is returned as undeliverable.

    If you have a Certificate Of Successful Completion Of Examination
    (CSCE), with a current license and callsign...that shows you've upgraded
    to a higher license class, you may begin using your new license class privileges IMMEDIATELY...with the special identifiers, as follows:


    Technician Temporary KT /KT

    NOTE: This ONLY applies if upgrading from the "old Novice" license;
    otherwise, no identifier is required...since Technician is the entry
    class license...and you would NOT have a callsign to start with. The
    digital identifier is for either Morse Code, or on a digital mode,
    such as packet, PSK31, etc. -- the phone identifier is for voice.

    General Temporary AG /AG

    Amateur Extra Temporary AE /AE

    The use of these special ID's follow your callsign on the new bands
    for which your CSCE shows that you've upgraded to. If you previously
    had privileges on a certain band without the CSCE (for instance, you
    upgraded from Technician to General), you're not required to use the
    ID on frequencies above 50 Megahertz. However, using the Technician to
    General upgrade example, if you want to use the frequencies for the
    General Class licensee, you are REQUIRED to use the new identifier.

    If you upgrade to the Extra Class license BEFORE your General Class
    paper license copy is in hand, or in the FCC database, you keep your
    Technician Class license, and the CSCE's for the General and Extra
    Class upgrade, as proof of your upgrades. Again, using the upgrade to
    Extra Class as an example, you use the special identifier for it,
    instead of the General Class license identifier.

    Once your new license grant appears in the FCC ULS database, or on
    the QRZ or Hamdata websites noted above), you're no longer required to
    use the special identifier. This usually takes 1 to 2 weeks after the
    day you passed the exam. Failure to use the identifier before your
    license upgrade appears in the FCC database would make it appear that
    you are operating on amateur radio bands outside your privileges, and
    you could get a Notice Of Violation from the FCC if that occurs.

    License Terms

    Ham Radio licenses are good for ten (10) years, and they may be renewed ninety (90) days prior to expiration...NO SOONER. However, if you have a
    change of address due to a move, you may MODIFY your license in that
    regard AT ANY TIME. If the FCC is unable to deliver mail to you, your
    ham radio license, and operating privileges can be suspended and/or
    revoked until your address is corrected. Operation without a license
    can result in a stiff monetary forfeiture (a fine) and imprisonment,
    plus confiscation of your ham radio equipment...fines range from $7,500
    to $10,000, if not more.

    If your ham radio license expires, but you have PROOF that you DID
    APPLY for renewal no sooner than 90 days BEFORE expiration...even
    though you may not have received the new license via the FCC ULS
    (paper licenses are no longer mailed out, unless specifically
    requested via the FCC ULS, as noted above), you may continue operating.

    However, if this is not the case, you may NOT operate on an EXPIRED
    ham radio license. But, you have a two (2) year "grace period" if your
    ham radio license has expired, to reinstate your license. This "holds"
    your license class privileges and callsign, until your license is renewed.

    But, if you do not renew your license before it expires, and do nothing during the 2 year grace period, both your license and callsign will be FORFEITED. At that point, you have NO AUTHORITY to operate on the ham
    radio bands, and it'll be as if you had NEVER taken a test!!

    To get back on the air with the previous license class that you held,
    you MUST take, AT MINIMUM, the Technician Class license, in order to get
    back into amateur radio.

    However, once an expired ham radio callsign passes the 2 year grace
    period, anyone can apply for it under the Vanity Callsign system. So,
    if you LOSE your current callsign, there is a chance that you may NOT
    get it back!!

    Also, if you upgrade your license to General or Amateur Extra, only the license class will change...the license expiration date will remain the
    same. Only new licensees, or those receiving a Vanity Callsign, get a
    fresh 10 year term...whether Technician, General, or Amateur Extra. I've
    known hams who walked into a test session without a license, and walked
    out with an Amateur Extra Class license...while not easy, it can be done.


    Posted by VPost v1.7.081019
  • From Daryl Stout@HURRICAN to All on Tue Oct 13 00:06:47 2020

    Preparing For An Exam:

    Normally, you can't just "walk in off the street" to take a license exam without some preparation. You will be tested on the FCC Part 97 rules,
    as they relate to amateur radio, privileges per the appropriate license
    class, RF safety, propagation, "good amateur practice", various operating modes, electronic theory, formulas, and calculations; and this is the case
    for EACH license exam...Technician, General, and Amateur Extra.

    Each of these is in more detail, as you progress up the amateur radio
    license ladder...going from Technician, to General, to Amateur Extra.
    Passing the more difficult exams gets you more amateur radio privileges. Whether or not you stay with one license class, or upgrade, is totally
    up to you. After all, amateur radio is a HOBBY...although some would
    consider it an OBSESSION (grin!).

    Like it or not, studying is NOT fun. But, you can study with a local
    ham radio club study group, or do it on your own. The American Radio
    Relay League (ARRL) website (www.arrl.org) has links to classes. Choose
    your state (if it's not listed, then no classes are currently scheduled),
    and look for a group in your area. It's wise to check with the contact
    person to verify details, and check for any last minute changes.

    Here are seven options for study material:

    1) The Question Pools alone. These are available at either the ARRL
    website (http://www.arrl.org/question-pools), or at the NCVEC website (http://www.ncvec.org). You will need the appropriate utilities to read
    the PDF or Microsoft Word files.

    2) The AA9PW website (http://www.aa9pw.com). A special item of note is the proven accessibility to blind users. There is an option for "no figures"
    in the exam, and many blind users do indeed report that this site works
    well for them. Additional features include on line Morse code training,
    and a Morse code app available from the iTunes store (even though Morse
    Code is no longer required for an amateur radio license). The site also includes practice exams for commercial licenses.

    3) The Ham Exam website (http://www.hamexam.org). It offers up to date
    exams on line, and includes a "flash card" learning option. What is unique
    here is that you create an account (it's free), and as you use the site,
    it learns which questions are giving you trouble and will emphasize those
    in subsequent practice exams.

    4) The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) website (http://www.arrl.org).
    It has license preparation materials for the Technician, General, and the Amateur Extra exams. Cost varies per item.

    5) The W5YI website (http://www.w5yi.org). It has the study guides done
    by Gordon West, WB6NOA...with similar materials to what the ARRL has
    available. Again, cost varies per item.

    6) If you are disabled, and need assistance with learning the materials,
    you can contact Handi-Hams (http://www.handiham.org). They help people
    with disabilities obtain, then study the material to obtain or upgrade
    their ham radio license. Once again, cost varies per item. More resources
    for the disabled are located at:


    If you have a disability, the Volunteer Examiner (VE) Team may be able to
    make certain accomodations for you to take the license exam, such as
    giving a test without schematics, graphics, or diagrams...for an
    individual who is blind, or severely visually impaired...or reading the questions and available answers to the examinee...who, in turn, tells the
    VE what answer to mark on the test.

    YOUR DISABILITY IS NOT OBVIOUS...and it's best to notify the VE Team as
    far in advance of the test session as possible, so that proper
    arrangements can be made. If you wait until the test session itself to
    notify the VE Team of your disability, they may NOT be able to make the accomodations for you to take the exam...and you will either have to
    take the exam without special assistance, or wait until another scheduled license exam session. If the VE Team is limited on exam materials without
    any schematics, graphics, or diagrams (these are usually reserved for
    those who are blind/extremely visually impaired), you may only be able
    to have one try at that particular license class exam at a test session;
    and will have to attend another session to "try it again", should you
    fail the exam.

    7) Ham Test Online (http://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/index.html).
    This option only requires a computer and internet connection (either
    dial-up, DSL, broadband/cable, etc.). It is all web browser based, with
    nothing to download. Unlike the options where you have to buy books, etc.
    for each license class, you get a six (6) month subscription at different prices, depending on which class of license(s) you want to study for
    (see the price list for details). It can be cheaper than all the other
    license class books combined from all the sources noted above!! You can
    take as long as you need to study...in the privacy of your home, to take
    as many practice tests desired.

    Once your study time, plus your practice test scores are both above 85%
    on a consistent basis, you're ready for the real thing at a VE Test
    Session. However, if after adequate study time and practice tests, you
    still fail on exam day, just send them PROOF of the failure...and they
    will CANCEL your subscription, and REFUND your money. Around 1% of all
    who have signed up with them have requested a refund. Personally, it was
    the best money I ever spent in amateur radio. I went from Technician to
    General in only 14 days...and to Amateur Extra just 13 days later!!

    It does NOT matter how many you miss on the exam...just as long as you
    PASS the test!! Plus, there is no disgrace if you don't pass a license
    exam the first time; you can retake the license exam, with a DIFFERENT set
    of questions, if the VE team has the capability for you to do so...and
    provided you pay an additional test fee. Many hams have had to do just
    that when applying for a new license, or an upgrade...and they are on
    the air today. Also, the number of "re-tests" per failed element at a
    test session may be LIMITED. Chances are if you fail an exam more than
    twice in the same session...especially by a large number...that you
    need more study time on the material.

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